German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told the European Union it must be more realistic in accepting Britain’s negotiating position in fishing and trade talks. Last week, Mrs Merkel said Brussels had to accept any deal must be in the interests of the UK and the EU. Her comments came as British sources blamed EU divisions and sabre-rattling from France for the missing of a deadline to find agreement this week.
It is widely believed the German Chancellor will play an influential role in brokering any UK-EU trade agreement in the coming weeks.
Other European leaders expect her to push French President Emmanuel Macron to compromise on his hardline demands to secure continued access to Britain’s coastal waters after the end of the year.
However, it is not going to be easy.
As he arrived at the EU summit, Mr Macron said: “In no case shall our fishermen be sacrificed for Brexit.
“If these conditions are not met, it’s possible we won’t have a deal. If the right terms can’t be found at the end of these discussions, we’re ready for a no deal for our future relations.”
While many reports have suggested the deadlock might be due to divisions between Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron, in an exclusive interview Express.co.uk, former Ukip MEP Douglas Cars argued it was other European leaders who are creating the split.
He said: “I think the interests of France and Germany are still so closely aligned.
“I don’t think we should count on Franco German divisions, anyway.
“It is not in our interests and it is more complex than that.”
He added: “I think the split is between European leaders who are still listening to British Remainers.
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“Quite often ex-civil servants, or former prime ministers like Tony Blair or John Major, who ever since the referendum have been telling people in Brussels what they want to hear.
“They have been trying to overturn the referendum result, giving them a complete misreading of what it is actually happening in the UK.”
In September, Mr Blair and Sir John urged MPs to reject the “shameful” attempt to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
The two former Prime Ministers accused the Government of “embarrassing” the UK by seeking the power to change the details of the treaty agreed with the EU last year.
A senior minister said the ex-Prime Ministers weren’t “close” to the process and the UK was in an unprecedented situation.
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Writing in the Sunday Times, Sir John and Mr Blair said the Government’s actions were “irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice”.
They added: “It raises questions that go far beyond the impact on Ireland, the peace process and negotiations for a trade deal – crucial though they are. It questions the very integrity of our nation.”
It was not the first time the two former leaders put their party allegiances aside to condemn Brexit and tried to stop Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc.